Alternative medicine has been gaining in both popularity and acceptance in recent years. Many cities now have a plethora of shops where a person interested in buying alternative medicines can go to find whatever they are seeking, in addition to being able to take advantage of many alternative medicine services at local practitioners' offices.
Alternative medicine is simply a way of referencing a type of treatment that is not officially recognized by the medical establishment as a relief or cure. There are literally thousands of practices that fall under this category, and most people would be surprised to find some of the items that either are or were once considered to be against the grain, or categorized as "alternative" medicine.
Not too far back in medical history, doctors did not wash their hands while helping a woman through child labor. The result was thousands of contracted infections and death due to bacterial transfer. Doctors who advocated the practice of hand-washing or warned of unseen microbes were shunned and mocked by their professional peers, and only in the last century has sterilization been a common and then regulated medical practice. It is hard to believe that something we take so much for granted was once considered alternative medicine, but it was so.
In the 21st century, alternative medicine is not as frowned upon by the medical profession as it once was. Treatments such as acupuncture are common, and many other forms of alternative medicine are gaining acceptance. Even watching weekly magazine shows like Dateline on NBC, observers can see radical alternative medicine practitioners curing patients with terminal illnesses to the wonderment of experts. Some are scams to be sure, but some are simply inexplicable, and professionals who witness the events tend not to endorse them, but neither do they dismiss them.
Part of the reason for the increase in acceptance of alternative medicine is the recognition of the powers of the mind over the body. There is increasing evidence that a patient's attitude can sometimes shape the physical response, and this in part helps to illustrate why alternative medicine is more well received than it used to be. A patient who believes he or she is doing better, often will.
Before going out to walk on coals or ingest an ear tuft of a koala though, it is important to do some research into the practice or practitioner one is considering for advice. Alternative medicine, by its definition, is not regulated and that leaves a lot of room for quacks to take advantage of people's ills to make a quick buck. Don't rush into anything, and if it appears shady, do not partake of it.